Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Many Paths to God Theory

Before I was Christian I believed in The Many Paths to God Theory which states in one way or another that each religion is like a path up a hill but that all the paths lead to the same Supreme Being. We just call them different names. It made sense to me. I know better now.

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The Many Paths to God Theory

The book I’ve been reading, Reunion by Bruxy Cavey has something to say about this theory that put it into perspective for me.
This kind of thinking is fundamentally religious in the worst possible way. The “many paths up the mountain” theory is based on three faulty assumptions. (1) God is still up on the mountain. (2) it is our lot in life to climb up the mountain to get to God, and (3) the paths and the Person are separate. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Maybe it’s because I’m a newer Christian but those revelations really had me intrigued. I’m still learning who God is and these were ideas I hadn’t thought of.
First, the story of the incarnation, God becoming one of us, is the heartbeat of the gospel. God is not “up there” somewhere, but right here, with us and in us. Jesus said, “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20)
Oh yeah! I know that of course but I still tend to think of the idea that God is up there somewhere more than I remember the God is with us part since I’m new.
Second, the gospel is the message of grace […]: God has given us everything religion tries but fails to give. We don’t have to climb any path up any mountain to get to God. We don’t have to do anything. God has already done it all.
God brings himself to us, not the other way around. We aren’t journeying this life to GET to God. He is already here and he was here long before we were.
Third, if Jesus really is God come to us, then Jesus is not just one path to get to the person of God. Instead, the Path and the Person are one. This is the context for Christ’s statement in John 14:6 that he is the only way to God because Jesus is God (see John 14:7-9)
Jesus IS the path and he’s the ONLY path. God is clear what we must do to get to Him and it doesn’t involve other religious practices.

I’ve posted a lot about what I’ve learned from Reunion by Bruxy Cavey in the last few weeks and I have more to share. Even with all that, I still won’t have covered ALL the points the book covers.
This book has crammed the MOST faith based information into one book I’ve ever seen and he writes in such a different way from many other Christian books. He writes like a friend talking to you, without using big words or complicated ideas. He brings the teachings down to the level of the everyday person.

Remember: Jesus is the ONLY Path to God.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Jesus is Enough

While reading from Reunion by Bruxy Cavey there is a section titled Jesus. Period.

This post contains affiliate links.



In Reunion I read:
Julie loved Jesus, and because of her generous spirit, she was trying to bring every other faith system she appreciated into her love relationship with Jesus. Her spiritual thinking was a mixture of the teachings of Jesus, Buddha, stuff that sounded like Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, a dash of Sufi poetry of Rumi, a drizzle of the environmental consciousness of Wicca, and a sprinkle of Hindu philosophy from her favourite yoga instructor […] Theologians call is syncretism: mashing together different faiths to get the one we like.
This part of the book grabbed my attention because I used to do the same thing. Taking the parts of the religions/belief systems that made sense to me and making my own.
I thought it made sense at the time but what the book continued to say puts it all into perspective.

Jesus is Enough

[…] she was relating to Jesus as though he were one of God’s messengers, one of God’s prophets, one of God’s self-revelations, and one of God’s ways for us to know his heart. But that isn’t what Jesus taught about himself.
The author continues a little later:
Julie was engaged to be married at the time. Ted asked her if she loved her fiancĂ©, and of course she affirmed that she did. He then asked her if she was planning on marrying any other men as well. […] I know Tom is the only man you want to marry, but how about boyfriends? How many men do you hope to date on the side over the years while you’re married to Tom? […] Why do you think it would be a dumb idea to plan on dating men on the side once you’re married to Tom? Ted asked. Because it would be deeply insulting to him and emotionally confusing to me, Julie answered. Tom is enough. Julie had just answered her own question.
When you put it like that, it makes perfect sense. Tom is enough for Julie. Jesus is enough for me. There are parts of religions I’ve been a part of in the past that I still like. But I can’t mix them with Jesus if I truly believe Jesus is the right path to God. Jesus is enough.

If You’ve Been Mixing Religions

If you’ve been doing what Julie was doing and mixing religions or beliefs to make your own path but you fully believe in Jesus and that he is the word of God please consider if Jesus is Enough.
Do you truly love Jesus? Do you believe he is the way to God? God’s only prophet and son? If so then tell yourself God is Enough. You are dishonouring God by incorporating other religions. Jesus is all you need.

I highly recommend Reunion by Bruxy Cavey. I did receive the book for review on another blog but I am blogging here about what I’ve learned because I love the book so much.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

We Are People of the Person

Are we People of the Book or People of the Person? I’m reading Reunion by Bruxy Cavey and I am finding so many good takeaways from the book I decided to blog about them to share. I highly recommend purchasing a copy of Reunion for yourself.

This post contains affiliate links. I will get a small commission if you make a purchase through these links. I also received an copy of the book Reunion for review purposes on my nonfiction book blog.

We Are People of the Person

I realize that sounds weird. First let me quote Reunion:
We read the Bible because it is the best God-given window through which we get a clear view of Jesus – who is God’s ultimate self-disclosure. The Bible is not a painting to be looked at, but a window to be looked through, and through that window we see Jesus. […] In other words, Christ-followers are not actually “People of the Book”, as the Qur’an calls Christians. WE are People of the Person. We don’t follow the Bible – we read the Bible so we can follow Jesus. – ch 4 of Reunion
The author goes on to explain the difference.
…if I follow the Bible, I can use its stories to justify all kinds of violence, from beating children to waging all-out holy war. But if I follow the Jesus whom I read about in the Bible, he won’t let me get away with anything short of active, other-centered, nonviolent, enemy-embracing love.

Misunderstanding the Bible

I never realized it before reading this chapter but that is so true. I used to not believe in the Bible because I couldn’t see how bad things could happen in the bible when God was supposed to be good. I’d think, “if we don’t stone people when they cheat why do we have to follow the other laws?” I thought the Bible was just a set of laws to follow. I hadn’t actually read the Bible let alone studied it so I didn’t understand.

The stories of the Bible took place over many, many years and the laws changed and Jesus came and so the Bible isn’t saying we should live the way every person in every story lived. It’s not a bunch of stories of perfect people it’s the stories of sinners.
This all might make perfect sense to some or make you think, “duh!” But let me tell you it wasn’t obvious to me so if someone you are reaching out to has trouble with the negative things that happen in the Bible please keep this in mind. We are not following the Bible, we are following Jesus.

The Bible isn’t the Center of Christianity, Jesus Is

Bruxy Cavey continues…
[…]”You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39-40)
Herein lies the beautiful irony: we learn in the Bible that Jesus wants us to move beyond just learning the Bible. Sure from the outside in, we look like a People of the Book, reading and studying our Holy Scriptures like people of any other religion. But looks can be deceiving. From the inside out, we are a movement of people who follow Jesus, and that shapes how we read our own Bibles.
So Jesus himself told us to not just grip the Bible tightly but to come to know Jesus through the book. The Bible is a tool to get to Jesus. Jesus is the center of Christianity. Thank you to Bruxy Cavey for your book Reunion which helped me to understand that.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

How to Connect With God

Aren’t we all trying to connect with God? Every Christian wants a connection with God, to feel his love and grace and to feel like we matter to Him (which we do!)
Sometimes though we can be stuck on how best to connect with God.

This post contains affiliate links. A purchase through this link gives me a small commission. Thanks.

The following comes from Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections Between Sexuality and Spirituality by Rob Bell
“You can’t be connected with God until you’re at peace with who you are. If you’re still upset that God gave you this body or this life or this family or these circumstances, you will never be able to connect with God in a healthy, thriving, sustainable sort of way. You’ll be at odds with your maker.” – pg 46

How to Connect With God


Thinking Negatively About My Life

When I read the above quote I really stopped and thought about all the times I’ve said any of the following:
  • I’m no good
  • I’m a failure
  • I’m overweight
  • I wish my life was like _________
  • Why does my child have to be like that?
  • and many others

Thinking Negatively About God

However I never once thought that by thinking those things, by dwelling on them, I was essentially saying to God:
  • You made me wrong
  • You failed when you created me
  • You don’t know what’s best for me
  • I’m not happy with you
Can you imagine saying those things to God? I can’t imagine facing him and saying those things yet that’s basically what I tell him when I complain about my life.

Connecting with God

How can I be connected with God if I’m not at peace about me and my life?
Read that quote again.
“You can’t be connected with God until you’re at peace with who you are. If you’re still upset that God gave you this body or this life or this family or these circumstances, you will never be able to connect with God in a healthy, thriving, sustainable sort of way. You’ll be at odds with your maker.” – pg 46

What the Bible Says

The bible talks about our connection with God too:

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

God made us right. He made no mistake when he made us, not one. For he made us in his image.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

He has a plan for us so while we have free will, a lot of what happens in our life was planned that way, even the bad things. God didn’t make a mistake with your life.

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8 NIV

If you connect with God he will connect with you too. Connecting with God doesn’t mean just sitting there and hoping it happens. You do what you can to get near to God and you should start with loving yourself and your life.

So, does that quote make you think?

This post is linked up at Messy Marriage

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

eMoods Bipolar Mood Tracker Review

eMoods Bipolar Mood Tracker is the best tool to keep track of your Bipolar condition so that when you talk to your doctor he or she can tell if you are doing better or worse and if anything needs to be changed in your treatment plan
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I’ve tried multiple ways to track my symptoms but most of them didn’t work for one reason or another.
I’ve tried paper but that requires remembering to print or photocopy it each month and keeping it somewhere where someone doesn’t find it.
I’ve tried just writing it down on paper but it inevitably gets lost and its hard to be clear on what means bad and what means good.
I’ve tried lots of phone apps too but most of them were made for depression, not Bipolar and so I couldn’t track my mania or they weren’t easy to use or weren’t free.
Until now…

eMoods Bipolar Mood Tracker Review

I recently found an app called eMoods Bipolar Mood Tracker. It must be new because I’ve been looking for a Bipolar tracker for years.

I’ve been using it for over a month now. It tracks your depression, mania, irritability and anxiety. You rank each from None to Severe and you are ranking the worst it was that day. This works best for me since my moods change throughout the day so it’s hard for me to rank my depression at a certain number for the day if it’s been all over the place. But this way I’m ranking the worst it was.

eMoods Log Your Moods


You can also mark if you had psychotic symptoms or had talk therapy that day. Also you can track the hours of sleep you got so you can see any patterns. Those with Bipolar know (or should know) that lack of sleep can be a sign of an Mania. If you are sleeping less and less and your mania is going up, it’s time to talk to your doctor.

In setting you can add a spot to track weight or menstrual cycle. My doctor used to have me track this and I found my depressions were worse during that time of the month. You can also allow it to automatically check that you took your everyday medications.
You can view your results in calendar or graph mode to see how you are doing over time. You can also set a reminder to use the app.

eMoods Sleep Results


eMoods Tracking Points

As you can see below (graph mode) you can see how depressed, elevated (manic), irritable or anxious I was from May 10th when I started using the app until the end of May. The darker, longer lines are worse. The small light blue dot means none. So you can see the 14th and 15th were bad for me with depression and irritability.

eMoods Calendar Mode

I don’t personally like this mode as much but you can see how you did in calendar mode. So here again you can see more dark circles on the 14th and 15th. In this mode you would have to remember that the first circle is depression, second is manic etc.

eMoods 3 Month Overview

The app just recently added this feature. This is another way to see how you’ve been doing. You see one month at a time but you can scroll down to see the last 3 months.
This one is showing June. It drops off on the 20th because that is today, when I wrote the post. You can see two irritability peaks, one of which happened when I was manic (elevated) but not the other. I mostly had mania this month, you can barely see the depression because it mostly was less than the mania was.


The Premium Version

All the above is free but if you upgrade to the paid version (which I have not) you can add custom tracking points so you can say mark down when you exercised.
The premium version also allows you to add time stamped notes, generate printable reports older than 6 months and 10% of the profits goes to mental health charities.
All your app data is saved and you can email yourself as a backup as well.

Get the eMoods Bipolar Mood Tracker App

You can find the app on Google Play for Android.
You can find the app on the App Store for Apple.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Silver Linings Playbook

The Silver Linings Playbook is a 2012 romantic comedy-drama starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence with Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher and Julia Stiles.


Summary: After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.

Rated R
2hr 2min

Silver Linings Playbook Review

When I found out this movie was about someone with Bipolar I knew I wanted to watch it. Since I have Bipolar, I like to see how the media portrays us.
I realized as I watched it that there is always a problem with portraying people with mental illness in movies or TV.

Those with mental illness are all different, even if they have the same diagnosis. So because of this, a movie can only portray one version of that illness. So anyone with that illness that experiences it differently will think they didn’t portray the illness correctly. Anyone without that mental illness will think the illness ONLY looks that one way.

That being said, overall I think the movie was pretty good. I identify with Pat’s anger although I deal with it in a different way. He lets it out, I hold it in or unleash it on myself. I may have enjoyed it more if I was a football person as a lot of the show revolved around watching football on TV and betting on games.



It’s one of those movies you can watch while you do something else, it doesn’t require intense concentration. Which honestly is a good thing for me right now as I can’t concentrate well.
The ending was the best part of the movie (as it should be as far as I’m concerned.) The movie is listed as a Romantic Comedy-Drama but honestly there wasn’t really any comedy in it. But that was okay. A Romantic Drama was refreshing.

Silver Linings Playbook Trailer


Friday, January 27, 2017

NLP: Neuro Linguistic Programming

Neuro Linguistic Programming or NLP is something I just recently stumbled upon. It can be a bit confusing at first but it sounds like something I’d like to try and I wanted to share a bit about it.


What is NLP: Neuro Linguistic Programming?

According to Wikipedia:
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California, United States in the 1970s. […] NLP’s creators claim there is a connection between neurological processes (neuro-), language (linguistic) and behavioral patterns learned through experience (programming), and that these can be changed to achieve specific goals in life

If that seems very confusing, don’t worry. I find the more I read about NLP the more I understand it.
Basically there are a set of practices you can do to acheive results whether it be freedom from depression and anxiety or just the negative thoughts every person has from time to time.
You should know that not all of these ideas can be proven through science and probably because of that, certain people and groups discredit NLP. However there is nothing harmful about using NLP and besides, sometimes if you believe something helps, it helps.

Anchors

Anchors are used to change the feelings/thoughts surrounding a particular situation. You know how sometimes if a person is wearing something specific and they win a competition they start to think of that item as lucky? Whether or not it has any actual luck in it doesn’t matter. The person associates said item with luck and so when they wear it in the future, they feel more lucky.
Anchors are like that but you can make them intentionally too. So if you create a few anchors like a calming stone you can hold or a joyful necklace, you can train your brain to change how you’re feeling when you have those anchors with you.

Change The Memory

There is another one that involves remembering something negative that happened (and that you think about often) and looking at it again from a third person’s perspective, as if you are a movie director. You can zoom in and out, change the view, focus on certain things and unfocus on others.
Manipulate the memory, take the focus off the main part and focus on smaller, average things such as the flowers in the vase behind you or the dog barking at your feet. Doing this enough makes the memory seem distant and non important, stopping your brain from going back to it again and again.

And More

There is way more to it than that. I am still learning but I think it’s an interesting way to try to change your thinking. I wish I had heard of it sooner! There are some resources below if you wish to know more. The free ebook is pretty good and if after that you want to learn more, you might want the other books. Just remember that it can seem confusing at first but keep reading.

Resources:

NLP Canada FREE ebook on NLP
NLP Depression & Anxiety Kindle Books (affiliate link)
Neuro Linguistic Programming for Dummies (affiliate link)